The damage to Sydneys beaches following the recent storms is expected to be in the millions and could take up to a year for them to recover.
Professor Andrew Short, a coastal geomorphologist at theUniversity of Sydney said the beaches could take “several months to a year” to fully recover after sand was swept away by the surging seawater.
Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan said, “We are yet to determine the clean-up bill, but expect it to be several million.”
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from SMH 3.4.22
The damage bill from the swamping of Sydney’s coastline on Saturday is expected to run into the millions and it could take beaches up to a year to recover from one of the worst coastal erosion events in NSW since 2016.
University of Sydney coastal geomorphologist Professor Andrew Short said the high tide was supercharged by a 50-centimetre storm surge in Sydney and an 80-centimetre surge further north in Port Macquarie. Beaches would take “several months to a year” under ideal conditions to fully recover after sand was swept away by the surging seawater.
Professor Short said there was a “very good chance” we would see more damaging conditions in the coming weeks that could further erode beaches along the NSW coast as the water stayed warm and La Niña conditions persisted.
“This is what we can anticipate in the coming decades as sea levels rise permanently,” he said.
The huge waves inundated beaches on Saturday as a low-pressure system that brought flooding to the North Coast earlier in the week moved south.
On the northern beaches, a swell of up to 7.3 metres and high tides of about two metres caused significant erosion on all of the council’s beaches and dumped debris along shorelines.
Northern Beaches mayor Michael Regan said crews had been on the ground over the weekend assessing the damage at several locations and securing sites that were not safe.
“Thankfully, we’re past the worst of the damage caused by heavy seas over the last couple of days,” he said. “We are now focusing on the clean-up and repair from this event, while we continue with the restoration work from the floods of a few weeks ago.
The council said there had been significant damage at North Avalon, where access stairs were damaged and closed off. The Queenscliff seawall has been damaged and is being assessed by coastal engineers.
In Manly, Marine Parade is still closed due to dangerous conditions and the access stairs at Bower Lane have been damaged.
At Collaroy-Narrabeen Beach, there has been erosion up and down the bay and some access ways are closed north of Narrabeen Street.
The council said private seawalls had not been affected and were not at any risk, but the temporary protective construction bund at Wetherill and Clarke streets had been damaged.
Bondi and Bronte were busy on Sunday as Sydney finally found some weekend sun, but even though beaches reopened, Waverley mayor Paula Masselos urged beachgoers to avoid entering the water for “at least a couple of days”.
“The water is very, very dirty,” she said, adding that a number of swimmers were sick after entering the water following the storm run-off in early March.
“Tamarama is looking like a bomb’s hit it. There’s been quite a lot of sand run up into the park. A lot of the gardens have been damaged.”
Cr Masselos said the damage was still being assessed and that the clean-up bill after the last major east coast low that wrought similar damage in 2016 was $6 million.
She said a huge rock had been picked up by the weekend swell and deposited on the lip of Bronte pool, bringing down part of the pool’s fence. It would require machinery to remove.
On the Central Coast, significant erosion occurred on Saturday at North Entrance and Wamberal, where council crews cleaned up debris.
On Sunday, the NSW government’s Beachwatch said stormwater pollution was possible at Sydney ocean beaches including North Narrabeen, Long Reef Beach, North Curl Curl Beach, Bronte Beach, Tamara Beach, Little Bay Beach and Malabar Beach.
A hazardous surf warning remained in place for much of the state on Sunday, but conditions had eased considerably from the previous day.
She said councils might apply for funding for urgent works related to open coast hazards.